New Madrid student receives certificate without aving to travel to TRCC campus in Poplar Bluff
NEW MADRID - As a Three Rivers Community College student, Ryan Mayo has never frequented the school's library. He's never met most of his fellow students, nor been in one of the college's classrooms. In fact, when Ryan Mayo receives his certificate for completing the Industrial Electrical Technician classes from TRCC, he will have never set foot on the Poplar Bluff campus.
But Mayo hasn't been shirking his scholastic duties. Instead he is taking his classes through Interactive Television Program through the New Madrid County R-1 Vocational Skills Center. His lab classes are taught at the local center as well.
The student combines his classwork with his job at Associated Electric Co. at Marston and family life in Bloomfield. It is a tough fit that has impressed those around him.
"Ryan is very focused in that he finds time to attend an electrical lab and two night classes each week," said Bob Pulliam, director of the New Madrid County R-1 Technical Skills Center.
"He is not our only area adult attempting this feat but he is a good example of employees wanting to advance themselves by obtaining specialized training," said Pulliam. "Colleges and universities are expanding their classes through technology, allowing anyone an opportunity to attend post-secondary classes. College campuses now extend to meet the needs of industry, business and human interest."
That extension draws in technical schools, such as New Madrid County R-1 where six or seven post-secondary classes are offered each semester ranging from fundamentals of speech to blueprint reading. While most classes are through TRCC, Southeast Missouri State will offer a class at the New Madrid campus next semester, according to Pulliam.
What makes those classes so attractive to students like Mayo is their convenience. There is no need to drive to Malden or Poplar Bluff for classes.
And if just one person is interested in a class, through the use of interactive television they can join a class elsewhere.
Mayo, who has worked at AECI for three years, noticed a flyer about classes on the company bulletin board last spring. An auxiliary operator in the operations department, he saw the certificate program as a way to improve his skills.
"It broadens my possibilities and opportunities within the company," said Mayo about the skills he is gaining through the classes.
Although he lives in Bloomfield, he opted for classes at R-1 because of his work schedule. AECI operations department employees work on a 12-hour swing shift.
"Some weeks I had Monday and Tuesday nights off but sometimes I would need to get to work from class pretty quick and sometimes it was to class from work," said Mayo. "A lot of people helped me out though, they would come in early if had class or stay a little later. Sometimes I had to be a little creative to figure out how and who would help me with my schedule."
School officials noted Mayo rarely missed class. When he attended out-of-town training for work, he had the staff tape the class so he wouldn't get behind.
The 1983 Bloomfield High School graduate said it was hard getting back in the swing of college life his first semester. "I had to remember how to take notes," he said with a laugh. "This semester has gone a lot smoother. I guess I have got into the groove. Now, I feel like I've been a student forever."
He has learned the ins and outs of interactive television, where to ask a question or join in the discussions he must make sure he the microphone button is on. Mayo noted that the professors welcomed the ITV students' input.
He did admit to occasionally feeling a bit isolated when he was the only student in his classroom.
"I enjoy it more when at least one other person is in the classroom with me. That way you have someone to interact with if you don't understand. We can talk it over and figure it out between us."
The lab classes are taught by another AECI employee. Mayo said he enjoyed the hands-on work of the lab and found having an instructor close by helped too.
"I stayed after work and was studying for a final last semester. He was still there so I had an opportunity to ask him about things that were going to be on the final," said Mayo.
Last week Mayo completed his second semester of the certification process. His next, and last semester in the program, will include a class by computer along with one more electronics ITV class. He said he is already considering other classes which might benefit his career.
Also he is promoting the ITV program among his co-workers. "But two classes are about as many as I would recommend someone with a similar schedule," he said. "But you can work it out if you want too."
For more information about the Interactive Television Classes or other course contact the New Madrid County R-1 Vocational-Skills Center.